A rainy Sunday in the Central West End - not that there have been any other kind lately - gave urgency to the need to Get Out And Do Something. The assemblage of the regulars plus an occasional habitue were ready for brunch. So we went to Scape, knowing that we could neither eat outside on Maryland Plaza, or in the outdoor area south of the restaurant, the courtyard that can be very welcoming.
It's probably superfluous to say that it's noisy. Everywhere seems to be these days, and while I have nothing against folks having a good time, it's rough on one's own conversations. But the menu is an interesting one, which makes ordering more of a challenge, especially with a group that tries to avoid duplication so we can try a little of each other's choice. (And I bravely forewent the wonderful pancakes with lemon curd and blueberries.)
Our server was patient and pleasant with our delay in ordering, although not quite on point with some details. He described the amuse-bouche bismarcks - the house's phrase, but around here, they're known as jelly doughnuts - as being made of puff pastry. No. It's a yeast dough. About the size of doughnut holes and tossed in powdered sugar, the filling du jour was a pineapple-coconut cream and very nice they were. There's a Bloody Mary bar, and we discovered that the standard bloody is pretty darned spicy. Mimosas are first-rate, probably with a small dose of Cointreau or Grand Marnier to push the orange notes forward. And the coffee tasted fresh and kept coming.
No, no duplication, but a mini-festival of crab dishes. An omelet of crab, roasted poblano peppers and emmental cheese charmed. The peppers didn't overwhelm the crab at all, perhaps because the quantities of each were carefully balanced. And the California benedict featured avocado and crab, along with lashings of a buttery hollandaise the waiter described as sweet. I'm sure it was a slip of the tongue, because it definitely wasn't. Each of those came with the breakfast potatoes, fortunately, since the Potato Queen was in attendance. In this case, the too-ubiquitous-too-generic phrase referred to wedges of potato deep-fried and seasoned with garlic and a hard grating cheese, probably a Romano.
The apple pie pancake was plate-sized, delicately tender, the apples sliced into it and probably sauteed some first. Whipped cream and a caramel drizzle topped things off. An order of bacon for the table went particularly well with it. The only less-than stellar dish was the duck hash. There was plenty of duck in it, certainly, with cubes of sauteed potato and onion here and there, a poached egg on top and a dribble of a port wine sauce on the periphery. It was technically competent, certainly, but it lacked the ducky goodness one anticipates in such a dish, not enough duck flavor to thrill, requiring the sauce to punch it up some.
The food was good, the pacing was great, and, well, you just have to live with that noise level. Have a drink and shout along with them. And by the way, there's valet parking at brunch.
48 Maryland Plaza
Brunch Sun., Dinner Tues.-Sat.
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Good
Brunch entrees: $10-$18